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 16-Aug-2001 – ISLAND - Features

Royal College Union into the 3rd century!

The outgoing Secretary of the Royal College Union, Nimal Dias Jayasinha who relinquished office at its Annual General Meeting held recently said that the Union was into its 3rd Century! "It was created on February 6, 1891 with an inaugural address by Mr. J. H. Marsh the then British Principal, prospered through the 20th Century and has begun to blossom in splendor during the Millennium years", stated Dias Jayasinha who believes that a more versatile individual will take over the baton of the Secretary to further strengthen its activities.

The Royal College Union (RCU) was established in 1891 and is the home of the Old Boys of the Royal College which boasts of being the biggest and best College in the world with around 7,800 students receiving a comprehensive value based education. Whereas, there exists an Old Royalist population of around 40,000, the Union has a membership of almost 8,000 with a thousand more joining it annually. One of the main ambits of the RCU is to impress upon the Old Boy fraternity ‘the debt they owe’ their Alma Mater. It is a truism that the College has offered the most towards the ultimate standing of all Old Royalists. Education, enriching values, enviable traditions, sportsmanship and most importantly a respect for each other. "Since all these elements have virtually been offered on a platter, helping in the creation of a solid human being of great value to society, would it not be an obligation of all Royalists to repay their debt of gratitude towards the College even in a small way" was the moving question of the departing Chief Executive of the Royal College Union.

During the last couple of years, the Union has completed the construction of a State of Art Sports Complex that was built at a cost of rupees 70 million and the Union is thankful to the Chairman of the Sports Complex, Hemaka Amarasuriya and his Team for such magnificent effort. The Sports Complex, boasts of a Junior and Senior Gymnasium with indoor facilities for Basketball, Squash, Boxing, Table Tennis, etc. alongside a Medical Room, Restaurant and an Underground Car Park. Plans are also a foot to further augment the seating capacity to accommodate 10,000 or more persons for any single event and such project would cost an additional Rupees 10 million. The RCU is also hopeful that Old Royalists living in Sri Lanka and abroad will rally round the College flag in further developing the Sports Complex to also include a Club House which will hopefully become the "Meeting Place" for all Old Royalists!

The International Affinity Credit Card created exclusively for Members of the Union, the first of its kind in Sri Lanka, was introduced as an ongoing scheme to augment the income of the Union at no cost to its members. Nimal is happy that many other schools have opted to adopt such scheme. The fervent hope of the RCU is that every member will obtain an Affinity Card for himself the details of which are available freely at the RCU Office.

Another unique event of the Union in the recent past was an expression of solidarity created through the Millennium March which was organized in October 1999 where over 15,000 Present and Old Boys from varying ages and class groups participated. Additionally, the RCU has set the pace with the publication of its Millennium Directory which includes the names of all Present and Old Boys together with many articles of historical value to Royalists.

During the past two years, the RCU has also been successful in constructing and establishing a fully fledged Information Technology (IT) Center which will help impart IT training to Present and Old Royalists. Whilst there exist 40 Work Stations at present the ultimate objective is to establish an infra-structure for Higher IT Training for the benefit of the Royalist fraternity.

The RCU while creating a modern Office at Rajakeeya Mawatha has also provided for a Merchandise Shop which provides interesting memorabilia and other items of value to the Royal Community.

Another ambit of the RCU has been to make representations to the Ministry of Education impressing and rationalizing the need for an intake of 50 per cent of children of Old Boys entering the College at grade one level.

The Union also supports the efforts of its Old Hostellers to construct a new Hostel Complex within the premises of the College and is thankful to the Minister of Education Mr. Susil Premajayantha for having graciously agreed to fund 75 per cent of the Rupees 70 million needed for this project which hopefully would become a reality during the next 12-15 months.